This story probably falls into the vast region of the middle of the road.
Not his best, but not his worst.
McLarty seemed to have a hard time portraying the children believably. He did an outstanding job of the protagonist, Mr. Sam. But the young girl, Willa was said to be a smart, eleven year old, Washington D.C. adolescent. He made her sound like she was six, and way to innocent to be as perceptive as her written character would indicate. Then, to make matters worse, he didn't shift his voice when he went back to the adult women. Maxwell even held some of the Willa "voice" toward the end. Gabriel, the six year old sounded more like he was nine or ten at times, although he was more believable than Willa.
I can't say that one particular moment was moving, but I did like the humanity Baldacci brought to Mr. Sam. He wasn't just a nut-case; but a man driven by love and devotion and outraged by the injustice brought about by the greed of others. And I like the play between the "First Family" and Sam's "Family First."
I like Maxwell and King a lot. But I really enjoyed Scott Brick's reading of these stories. Ron McLarty is talented, but he's too old to play Sean King and he doesn't change up his voices very well. The story was a little contrived, but I enjoyed it for the most part.
The characters and action was first rate.
The dirty details of politics.
All so good, cant pick just one.
It wowed me. I have listened to it several times.
Each time I hear it, a new aspect comes to my attention.
David Baldacci is one of my favorite authors. He always spins a good yarn and this one didn't disappoint.
Maybe "Absolute Power". Because it was also about the first family but a very different story.
Yes! It's easy to determine who the characters are, it's a thriller as in you want to know what is going to happen next, and the writing, readers and characters made this one of my favorites.
He was spot on - very good.
I would recommend this one, highly.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Okay... if I were a reader (as opposed to a listener) I'd report that this was, well, maybe not an eye glazer but at least an eye mister. The plot's ok... but the narrative demands more disbelief suspension than the writer's earlier novels. The magic's gone between the author's male and female leads. There's a filler mystery carefully inserted into the middle of this thing so, I suppose, the principle tale wouldn't have seemed a short story. And there are more addendum-type chapters at the end than there are dwarfs skipping after Snow White.
While not a total waste of time, knowing now, what I gathered from listening to the entire novel... I'd not have started "First Family." Can't recommend it even though Ron McLarty does a very serviceable job of reading - I will buy more of his work.
One last point, I skipped over a number of Baldacci novels this series because they were read by the portentous Scott Brick. Maybe if McLarty had read them to me... this one would not have been so much like wet cardboard? Who knows?
Dunno if I'll purchase another Baldacci even though I've enjoyed his work in the past.
Baldacci is a pro who knows how to cook up an intricate plot and keep the narrative ticking away like a bomb. BUT this book reads like a first draft, complete with cliches and grammatical errors, poor character development and stilted dialogue. I can't help but think that if he had taken another six months to work over the plot and character elements and goose his writing style, this could have been a stunning thriller.
The performance is another issue. McLarty's voice has range, but his delivery can be oddly stiff. He is not the problem, however. The faux suspenseful background music was horrible and intrusive. Even worse were the appalling sound effects--like the machine gun spatter--that accompanied the most dramatic scenes. Not just unnecessary but ridiculous, bordering on grotesque. I've never encountered this before in an audiobook and I pray I never do again!
I am a huge Baldacci fan and a fan of Michelle and Shawn (Sean, Shaun, whichever). I love Ron McLarty's narration. Not a fan of the story. The premise of the story was interesting, I just don't think it was written in the best way possible. Not his best work, but a great addition to the Michelle and Shawn story.
I love a mystery. . .but in this story, it's mystery after mystery after mystery. Characters are continually being shocked by something the reader isn't told of. By the time you're halfway through the book, you really have NO idea what's going on and are starting not to care. Normally I listen as often as I can, finishing a 12 hour book in about week. This one? Not so much.
By the time the mystery is revealed, you've forgotten what was relevant and what wasn't.
I read a lot plus I listen to one to two books a month and I think this is the best book I have listened to. I have read all the books in this series and enjoed them all. The funny thing is I happen to pick the first one in this series because audible had first listens on sale. Im so glad I did. My advice is listen to them in order or you spoil it.